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Old 07-25-2019, 03:23 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Sevierville , Tennessee
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What have I done?

First post here, looking forward to learning and getting some advice from the more experienced AS owners. So, I bought a completely gutted 1972 Sovereign, and I mean gutted. No interior panels, nothing, nada.... just the shell and a title. He did however, have the endcaps, and most of the windows. My plan is to live in it full time on my vacant lot I just purchased. Already checked the laws before I bought the property, RVs are okay, and I have my permit for a septic tank. I'm in Eastern Tennessee, so no need for a four season RV, and I've always wanted an Airstream. Preparing to do a full monte right now. The shell is in okay shape, one panel needs replaced on the front, and I think I'm going to delete the rear access panel with a solid sheet of aluminum. Frame needs some repairs, but I've been building Jeeps for years, so I feel I'm adequately prepared for that part. Purchased new c channel, the PO destroyed it getting the subfloor out, and Douglas fir acx plywood for the subfloor. I'm going to try and keep this thread updated as I build, hoping to keep this under a year. I'll post some pics later, on my phone right now, and it's not letting me upload anything.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:46 PM   #2
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Welcome! So what you have is an AS tent. Sounds like it's one of the no floor primitive types. Extra points assigned for bring back that type of shiny.

Only having to tent camp for a year is likely the dream of many. Should make you a hero.

Enjoy the project. Lots to learn and if you can find fun in the work, it's a cool way to begin your RV experience. Pat
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:48 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum!

You might enjoy The Love Shack thread for the author's great sense of humor, thorough work ethic, and well-done photos:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...ck-183431.html

Eric is also in Tennessee.

Good luck!

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Old 07-25-2019, 04:54 PM   #4
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1968 26' Overlander
CORDOVA , TN
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Welcome and Congrats !

Sounds like you have taken a pretty deep dive ! The good news is, once you are done, you will know that everything is in good shape. There is a huge demand for vintage Airstreams, so if you do things right, it is a good investment !

there is a thread by user Joyflea, documenting his renovation of a 67 Overlander...good info and real good photos....YOu will probably find it worth reading the entire thread.....

Good luck in your new adventure ! We love Airstreams here !
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Old 07-25-2019, 10:14 PM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
Sevierville , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKI View Post
Welcome! So what you have is an AS tent. Sounds like it's one of the no floor primitive types. Extra points assigned for bring back that type of shiny.

Only having to tent camp for a year is likely the dream of many. Should make you a hero.

Enjoy the project. Lots to learn and if you can find fun in the work, it's a cool way to begin your RV experience. Pat
I'm not living on the property yet. The AS is at my parent's house, tools and electricity will come in handy. Luckily they are very patient, I have a Jeep and a dump truck at their house too. Just got tired of apartment living, and decided an AS was cooler than a tiny house. I named it The Aluminum Monster.
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Old 07-25-2019, 10:54 PM   #6
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My personal opinion is that a slab with an RV garage on it and a compact apartment to the side or upstairs makes the best solution. But your dream will make your plan a winner. Get those tools spinning. Pat
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:34 PM   #7
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1972 31' Sovereign
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One thing I've really been trying to decide on is if I should use transoms, or jacks to lift the shell. I'm leaning towards jacks right now, mostly because I have a bunch already, but transoms would make the belly pan so much easier to do. The belly pan is destroyed btw. Do I need to remove the vista windows before I lift the shell? I'm guessing yes, but hoping no. I'm also going to be adding a platform in the back to hold a mini split HVAC.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:53 PM   #8
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Sounds like a good plan. Thank your mom and dad too.
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:25 PM   #9
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Subscribed. Looking forward to your updates on the project.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:52 AM   #10
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An alternative for lifting might be some pallet racks. I found some for $100 each that were 12' high and 12' wide. Had a use for them afterwards as storage.

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Old 07-27-2019, 12:57 PM   #11
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Originally Posted by 57Vintage View Post
An alternative for lifting might be some pallet racks. I found some for $100 each that were 12' high and 12' wide. Had a use for them afterwards as storage.

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I actually thought of those, but transporting them seems like a hassle, and I wouldn't have anywhere to put them afterwards. I'm going to use jacks I've decided. Hopefully going to lift it next weekend, going to frame the inside, and remove the vista views this week. Also remove the rest of the belly pan.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:31 AM   #12
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Hey congrats on the purchase. I'm in Knoxville so if you need some advice shoot me a PM. Some quick advice. Keep in mind that you have entered a marathon so pace yourself. I refer to my Argosy as my second job now. I started mine last June and it is still a couple of months away form usable. Many people take several years, so don't get discouraged.

Using it as a residence will mean some changes in the plumbing that will will want to think about. Oh and yes you will need to think about 4 seasons living with the plumbing otherwise you will be asking for plumbing repair advice with in a few years.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:10 AM   #13
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Originally Posted by Eric 26 Argo View Post
Hey congrats on the purchase. I'm in Knoxville so if you need some advice shoot me a PM. Some quick advice. Keep in mind that you have entered a marathon so pace yourself. I refer to my Argosy as my second job now. I started mine last June and it is still a couple of months away form usable. Many people take several years, so don't get discouraged.

Using it as a residence will mean some changes in the plumbing that will will want to think about. Oh and yes you will need to think about 4 seasons living with the plumbing otherwise you will be asking for plumbing repair advice with in a few years.
Definitely going to be insulating all the plumbing, and a contingency plan for real cold nights. Not many of those here fortunately. Luckily I only work 5 nights a week, no kids, and single. So I've got plenty of time. I'm thinking a year is totally doable, plus my Dad will work on it at night when he's bored. He just finished restoring a 65 Wheelhorse and been looking for a new project to tinker with.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:49 AM   #14
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FYI Eric's "The Love Shack" thread is linked in Post #3.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:27 PM   #15
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plus my Dad will work on it at night when he's bored. He just finished restoring a 65 Wheelhorse and been looking for a new project to tinker with.
I'm calling fowl! That's cheating
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:43 PM   #16
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1972 31' Sovereign
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I'm calling fowl! That's cheating

He won't do a whole lot, well until we get to electrical, and he's a better welder than me. So, maybe a little cheating, haha.

Got most of the banana wraps off today. Gonna finish tomorrow, and then work on bracing the inside for the full monte.
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:00 PM   #17
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Got the banana wraps and all the lower trim off. Heading to home Depot now to get some wood for bracing it.
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:04 AM   #18
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While it is still attached to the frame take a bunch of measurements. They will be needed when you go to attach the shell back to the frame.
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Old 07-31-2019, 11:57 AM   #19
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1972 31' Sovereign
Sevierville , Tennessee
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While it is still attached to the frame take a bunch of measurements. They will be needed when you go to attach the shell back to the frame.
Already on top of it. Got a whole page of measurements in my notebook. Used a door skin repair kit on a few panels this morning, turned out really well. Got a small crack in the front panel, thinking of making a patch for it.

Dad has been in manufacturing his whole life, so he is going to make me a guide to help me drill the buck rivets out. Also he can order the correct aluminum for the AS from a wholesaler, with no shipping cost. My c channels are on backorder, so I've got a few weeks to get the shell all sealed up before I reattach it to the frame.

My dad is going to fix the frame, and reinforce the rear bumper for a mini split HVAC unit. While I seal the shell. Current timetable is having it reassembled by September, and start working on the interior during the Fall. I'm not messing with the axles yet, my property is extremely close to my parent's house, and getting it liveable is priority number one.
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:40 AM   #20
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1956 22' Safari
Williston , Vermont
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Welcome to the world of vintage Airstreams.

For drilling out the rivets, you can get a tool from Vintage Trailer supply for $40 that works great. Also not sure what the C-channel look's like in your model and year, but I just had a machine shop shear and bend them up for me. Took them almost no time.

Good luck and keep posting, the folks here are a great source of knowledge.
Mark
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